Bay Area drivers experiencing worsening car-commute delay, one ranking shows

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) – the main transportation concern for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area – in its latest ranking finds that commuters are enduring worsening motor vehicle delay basically from dusk till dawn on at least one Bay Area freeway.

Bay Area overhead view as seen from space
Bay Area overhead view as seen from space

“The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) today [Oct. 3, 2016] unveiled its annual ranking of the Bay Area’s most congested freeway segments, with the afternoon drive on northbound U.S. 101 and eastbound Interstate 80 in San Francisco supplanting the morning commute along westbound I-80 from Hercules to San Francisco as the region’s most notorious location for traffic trouble,” the MTC in a news release declared. “The roughly six-mile stretch from the U.S. 101/ Interstate 280 interchange out to the Bay Bridge’s Yerba Buena Island Tunnel ranked #4 on the regional congestion list for 2014. Despite falling to #2 on the 2015 list, the westbound I-80 drive from State Route 4 in Hercules to U.S. 101 in San Francisco made history with congested conditions typically extending from 5:35 a.m. to 7:50 p.m. This is the first time routine congestion on any Bay Area freeway segment has not been interrupted by a mid-day break.”

The MTC web-based performance initiative uses the name Vital Signs and can be found here.

The commission, in no uncertain terms, defines “congested delay” as the amount of spent-in-traffic time traveling at speeds of less than or equal to 35 miles per hour. According to the transportation commission, congestion delay grew from an average 2.7 minutes each weekday in 2014 to an average 3.2 minutes per commuter last year – a 22 percent increase – this across the entire region and a percentage increase in “per-commuter-per-day” congested delay of more than three times that, from 1.9 minutes recorded in 2010.

Moreover, “Seven of the region’s 10 most congested freeway segments in 2015 ranked in the Top 10 for 2014 as well,” the MTC related.

Several other key findings as revealed in the news release, including:

  • Population: The Bay Area’s population rose to 7.6 million by the end of 2015, with about one out of every four residents living in Santa Clara County;
  • Employment: Bay Area employment hit an all-time high of 3.7 million in 2015, with nearly half of the region’s jobs located in San Francisco or Silicon Valley;
  • Miles Traveled in Congestion: 94 percent of the Bay Area’s total freeway mileage was traveled in free-flow or moderate-flow conditions last year, down a percentage point from 2014;
  • Transit Asset Condition: Nearly 30 percent of the region’s buses, railcars, tracks and other transit assets are past their useful life. With 71 percent of its fleet past its useful life, BART’s maintenance needs dwarf those of other transit agencies; and
  • Particulate and Ozone Concentrations: While Bay Area air quality has improved markedly over the decades, adverse weather conditions linked to the drought caused regional particulate and ozone concentrations to increase slightly in 2015.

(Source: “Fresh Data on Bay Area’s Vital Signs Show Big Jump in Freeway Congestion for 2015,” Oct. 3, 2016 news release).

From the “Traffic Gridlock Sets New Records for Traveler Misery: Action Needed to Reduce Traffic Congestion’s Impact on Drivers, Businesses and Local Economies,” Aug. 26, 2015 Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) press release, there is this:

“Of America’s Top 10 Worst Traffic cities, 7 of them experienced population growth outpacing the national average of 0.7 percent last year, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Houston and Riverside, CA.” Further, according to the TTI in the same release, San Francisco is the third most car-commuter-delayed region in the United States (with a per-commuter delay of 78 hours), behind Washington, D.C. (first) and Los Angeles (second), with 82 hours and 80 hours of delay, respectively, in 2015.

Image above: NASA


This post’s original title: Bay Area commuters experiencing worsening car commutes, one ranking shows, has been changed to more accurately reflect article information.